Tuesday, October 31, 2017

31 Sidi tribals held for Talala violence

By: Express News Service | Rajkot | Published:October 31, 2017 5:14 am
Sidi tribals,  Talala in Gir Somnath, tribals held for Talala violence, Talala violence, Gujarat news, indian express news BJP MLA Govind Parmar (second from left in third row) leads the protest march in Talala town on Monday. (Express Photo by Sardarsinh Chauhan)
A DAY AFTER a violent mob of Sidi tribals clashed with police in Talala in Gir Somnath district, police on Monday arrested 31 tribals — 24 men and seven women — in connection with the violent clash. There was, however, no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the district, though police continued to remain deployed in the violence-affected villages.
Violence had broken out at Gundaran village of Talala taluka after members of Ahir community and Sidi tribe clashed over a minor tiff on Saturday evening. The situation escalated on Sunday afternoon when mobs of Sidi tribe blocked a road between Madhupur and Jambur village. Police had rushed to the spot and ordered the mob to disperse. But instead, the mob started pelting stones, injuring three policemen and a few others.
Eventually, to disperse the rioters, police lobbed teargas shells and resorted to mild lathicharge, and detained some of the accused. “Today, 31 people were arrested in connection with this case. They include 24 men and seven women. They were detained from the spot of violence on Sunday. They had blocked road and attacked police,” Hitesh Joysar, Superintendent of Police (Gir Somnath) said.
Joysar confirmed that all those arrested were Sidi tribals. They and 13 others have been booked for attempt to murder, preventing public servant from discharging his duty, dacoity etc on the basis of a complaint filed by head constable Vira Ghiyad of Gundaran police outpost.

“In all, we have registered five cases in connection with the clashes. But these arrests have been made with respect to the incident in which police were attacked on Sunday afternoon. We will arrest more persons who are accused in other cases soon,” Joysar added. He said the situation was peaceful and totally under control. “We have deployed three companies of SRP in Gundaran and Jambur villages. Three Deputy SPs have also been deployed in the area. No untoward incident has been reported from anywhere on Monday. We have called a meeting of local peace committee in Talala on Tuesday and leaders of all communities have been invited to it,” said the SP.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Talala, Govind Parmar, led a huge silent rally from Talala Taluka Panchayat office to the office of Talala mamlatdar in Talala town and submitted a memorandum demanding strict action against members of Sidi tribe.
“I have appealed to all sides to maintain peace and law and order. We have also ordered authorities to take strict action against some anti-social elements in the Sidi community. The Hindu community submitted a memorandum and demanded that a police outpost be set up at Jambur village to prevent such incidents,” Parmar said.
Jambur is the village dominated by Sidis, who are Muslims and have settled in and around Gir forest in Junagadh and Gir Somnath districts of Saurasthra for the last few centuries. A majority of the community are landless and work as labourers. The population of the tribe in Talala is expected to be around 10,000. The incident comes around five weeks before the state goes to polls in December. Parmar was elected MLA in May last year after death of sitting Congress MLA Jashubhai Barad.


Tyavarekoppa safari to get two Asiatic lions

Staff Reporter Shivamogga, October 31, 2017 00:04 IST
Arya, the male lion, and Manya, the female lion, seen at Tyavarekoppa tiger and lion safari near Shivamogga.  
The Tyavarekoppa Tiger and Lion Safari near Shivamogga will soon receive a pair of lions from Bannerghatta Biological Park.
M.C. Cheluvaraj, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), told The Hindu that the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has given permission to transfer the pair to Tyavarekoppa.
At present, the safari-cum-zoo in Tyavarekoppa has 350 animals, including a pair of cross-bred lions — 13-year-old lion Arya and five-year-old lioness Manya, seven tigers, and 28 leopards. Tyavarekoppa will now get an Asiatic lion and lioness, both under the age of five.
Mr. Cheluvaraj said the availability of ample space, food and medical care makes Tyavarekoppa conducive to captive breeding of endangered animals such as tigers and lions. The authorities will take measures to ensure successful breeding of Asiatic lions here, he said.
The authorities at Tyavarekoppa safari had earlier planned to get a pair of Asiatic lions from Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden in Gujarat, but the plan didn’t worked. A proposal was submitted six months ago to bring the pair from Bannerghatta Biological Park for which CZA has given its nod now, he said.
Mr. Cheluvaraj said the formalities over the shifting of the lions have been completed. A team of officials from Tyavarekoppa, including veterinary experts, will visit Bannerghatta on October 30 to assess the health condition of the lions. After the completion of health assessment, the shifting will commence. It has been planned to bring the animals in a specially designed cage mounted on a truck. The lions are likely to arrive in a week. They will be displayed for visitors after they get accustomed to the environment here, he said.
Mr. Cheluvaraj said that after the shifting, a proposal will be submitted to the authorities to bring a pair of bison and four nilgais from Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, Mysuru, to Tyavarekoppa safari.

Gir Sanctuary Lions, Tired Of Tourist Nuisance, Go Into Hiding

30 October 2017 Last Updated at 3:27 pm National
Gir Sanctuary Lions, Tired Of Tourist Nuisance, Go Into Hiding
 Humans intruding the animal habitat may not be a new phenomenon but now it has turned so bad that lions in Gujarat's Gir sanctuary have gone into hiding to get some privacy.
Of 31,584 tourists, who visited the sanctuary between October 20 to October 27, 60% of them could not even spot a single lion, reported The Times of India.
HS Singh, member of the National Board of Wildlife told the newspaper,"The lions are obviously disturbed by the increasing number of vehicles in the forest during the vacation. Hence they move away from the tourism zone. Secondly, the forest, at present, is lush green and hence the lions easily hide in the grasses making it difficult to be spotted."
The sightings of the lions have reduced despite increment in their number over the last few decades.
According to a report in the scientific journal Current Science, there was a four-fold increase in the lion population near the Gir forest in the five decades till 2015.
The Gujarat government had released its lion census figures in May 2015, which said that Gir’s Asiatic lion population had grown around 27%, from 411 in 2010 to 523 in 2015.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The man who loved Nature

Posted at: Oct 29, 2017, 1:27 AM; last updated: Oct 29, 2017, 1:27 AM (IST)
Tyger Tyger, burning bright: The writer spent his entire bureaucratic life in various wildlife departments. Driven by his unequivocal love for wild animals, in Madhya Pradesh alone he helped increase the number of national wildlife parks from two to 11 between January 1981 and March 1983 photo: PTI
Lt-Gen Baljit Singh (retd)
Reminiscing of wildlife in the days of plenty, M K Ranjitsinh (MKR) narrates that “it was common to spot up to 400 blackbuck on a morning’s drive......... and the pastime I loved most as a boy, after leopard watching....... see them go into those incomparable bounds....... they had disappeared altogether from the open plains by 1960”. That, in essence, is the sad status of India’s entire wildlife outside the protected areas, 70 years past Independence. MKR reveals the purpose and focus of his engrossing book, part autobiography, but essentially an insightful tour-de-force of India’s natural history, through his opening statement: “India had a unique advantage in saving its natural heritage over every other newly developing nation in the twentieth century. The traditions and even the infrastructure were there. Unfortunately, we squandered this advantage.” And no one is better placed to weave such an audacious retrospective because here was a bureaucrat who, barring one appointment as District Collector (Mandla), spent his entire service in departments dealing exclusively with wildlife. And he always stuck his neck out to uphold convictions backed with scientific truths. MKR postulates convincingly that the structure which aided wildlife and forests to sustain optimal levels in the past (despite hunting and natural prey) stood upon three pillars. The foremost was the uncompromising commitment to nature conservation by the colonial government and Indian feudal chiefs. Next was the cultural ethos of communities such as Bishnois of Rajasthan, to preserve specific trees and animals (khejri and blackbuck). And the third was the pervasive cult of ahimsa, coupled with vegetarianism espoused such as by Jainism and most sects of Hinduism. Indeed, it was this ethos which Lord Curzon employed, in collaboration with the Nawab of Junagadh beginning in 1902, for the successful revival of the Asiatic lion from the last surviving pride of about 20. And that legacy prospered, as MKR states with a sense of pride, “Jawaharlal Nehru was a genuine lover of nature and wildlife and it was at his instance that the Indian Board for Wildlife was created,” in 1951. However, Nehru did not foresee that by allowing “forests and wildlife as a State subject under the Indian Constitution” the situation would be exploited to divert vast tracts of centuries old forests to agriculture. And which eventually became a continuous lucrative vote-bank lure with politicians of all hues. Fortunately, that Constitutional infirmity was not lost on Mrs Indira Gandhi; she held a brain-storming session in 1971 with nearly 25 chosen experts. Seizing an opportune opening, MKR emphasised that “India needed a uniform legislation for wildlife and forests and to bring them to the Concurrent List of the Constitution through amendment using the provision of Article 252”. Mrs Gandhi recognised merit in that proposal and what followed was history. MKR helped draft the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and almost simultaneously launched Project Tiger in 1973. The Forest Conservation Act, 1980, followed and finally came the Environment Protection Act, 1986. None of this would have fructified but for Mrs Gandhi’s letter to all Chief Ministers urging, “This is not a political issue. It concerns the survival of our natural heritage. It is hard to think of India devoid of its magnificent animals”. Without a murmur, all State Assemblies passed the requisite resolution within the month. However, the bitter truth remains that despite appropriate legislation backed by the political will to sustain ecological equilibrium, the chosen “development model” placed un-satiated demands on land. MKR came to “realise that in the prevailing circumstances not just wildlife but forests and nature itself had hope of long-term survival only in effectively managed national parks and sanctuaries....” Guided by this intuitive wisdom, he moved like a man possessed and in Madhya Pradesh alone, increased the number of national wildlife parks from two to 11 and sanctuaries from 20 to 34. When he was appointed Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Environment & Forests, he carried the same zeal, among other places, even to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. It was then quite natural that the UN Environment Programme would pick MKR as their man for the Asia Pacific region as indeed several other global environment entities would, in coming decades. The book is replete with endearing episodes; including the one about Manipur brow-antlered deer. With support from Mrs Gandhi, the deer (sangai) which numbered less than 30 in 1975 was revived to 98 in April 1995. Rajive Gandhi was the last Prime Minister to understand the conservation paradigm as a national imperative. He created the Ministry of Environment & Forests, the Wildlife Institute of India and the Ganga Cleaning Project. Beginning with PM Narasimha Rao, the espousal of conservation started plummeting. In 2013, MKR tried to convince Chief Minister Narendra Modi to allot a mere 14 acres of government land to the tiny 2.2-sq km Kutch Bustard Sanctuary but to no avail. The world may well lose this species by the 2050s. Now even as the head of the State, Modi has shown little empathy for nature conservation. The book has some good photographs of varied species from across the world. It also states quite modestly in passing that in 1980 a new subspecies of the barasingha in India was accorded recognition as Rucervus duvaucelii ranjitsinhi in recognition of his efforts.

Meet Raseela Vadher, the forest officer who has rescued over 1,000 animals

  • Think Change India
  • 27 October 2017
    For 31-year-old Raseela Vadher, being among the first women to be recruited to guard Gir National Park, the home of the endangered Asiatic lion, was a dream come true. Today, having completed over 1,000 rescues — 300 involving lions, 515 involving leopards, and the rest involving crocodiles and pythons, among other wildlife — she raises awareness in neighbouring villages as well.
    Source- Twitter
    Raseela, who hails from Junagadh district, decided to try her luck when Gujarat’s Forests and Environment Department began recruiting in 2007. While her brother failed his fitness test, she made it through. According to a report by Forbes India, she said,
    Women had worked in the administrative departments, and at check-post security duties. I did not want to do this. When the opening was for the animal rescue team, I thought why not try it.

    From rescuing a lion in a well to controlling a leopard on the prowl, Raseela deals with wild animals for a living. Today she specialises in anti-poaching operations.
    Source: Gir Asiatic Lion
    Dr AP Singh, Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife Circle) in Junagadh, said,
    Vadher, like other women in the forest service, has proved that nothing is impossible. They are fearless and extremely hard-working, sometimes more than the men.
    Though Raseela lives in the staff quarters, her family stays 42 km away in Bhanduri. Her husband works in Verawal and visits her once in a while. In spite of living away from her family, Raseela has adapted herself to the new environment, adds a DNA report. About a job that demands complete mindfulness, she said,
    There’s a difference between training and a real-life situation. No amount of training can prepare you for a rescue; you have to assess the situation, surroundings, and context afresh in each case. You learn from each experience. We say a rescue is successful only when neither the animal nor anyone in the team is hurt in the process.

Indira was the Abhimanyu of politics – thrown in, unable to code her way out

By on October 25, 2017
Walking the tight rope of Indian politics, Indira Gandhi was a great example of how a politician and policy maker balances development with environment, said Jairam Ramesh during his interaction with a select group at the Kalam event organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation and Cultural Rendezvous at Radisson, Udaipur yesterday.
5pm at the Rooftop Dome, Radisson was a perfect setup for talking about the diva of Indian politics and her love for nature and the environment.  Indira Gandhi – a Life in Nature by Jairam Ramesh was the genesis of the interaction with Jairam Ramesh (JR), led by Swati Agarwal, after the welcome note by Shubh Singhvi of Cultural Rendezvous.
JR took the audience through the largely unknown past and flow of events in the life of Indira Gandhi, the Iron Lady who had a soft corner for the environment, nature and all that is around us.  Project Tiger, Project Lion, Sariska Reserve, Gir Forest, Bharatpur Bird Santuary, conservation action for crocodiles and ghariyals, were all the work of Indira Gandhi, who is unfortunately also ill-famed as an instinctive politician responsible for the Emergency which happened in 1975, albeit for a variety of reasons.
He said that his book on the much hitherto unknown facts about the childhood and student life of Indira, flows chronologically as age, maturity, aptitude, relations, experiments, and responsibilities of the former Prime Minister of India progresses.
Jairam Ramesh at launch with Sonia Gandhi, Karan Singh, Priyanka Gandhi, Manmohan Singh
Indira, an only child born into a core political family, had seen all and multiple influences developed her love for nature during her early child hood days – four factors were responsible for the cultivation of her affinity towards nature, says JR.
Mother: Indira’s mother, Kamla Nehru had been predominantly unhealthy for a long duration before her demise.  This led to Kamla staying at hill stations like Mussoorie, Nainital, Simla, Dalhousie, etc. upto 6 months in a year to recuperate in the clean environment – being an only child Indira accompanied her always.  This led to her being very close to hills, gardens and nature as such – observing birds, animals during her stay with her mother.  Her education in Switzerland happened when Kamla Nehru was taken to the Swiss region and met with her demise there.  Indira stayed back and studied, further augmenting her relationship with all things natural.
Father: Jawaharlal Nehru, being an activist and core politician and at the forefront of the Indian freedom movement, spent a large part of his parenting years in jail, and being there he would read books, live with nature and form opinions while understanding and appreciating the importance of environment.  Nehru sensitized Indira to nature.
Maternal Uncle: Kailash Kaul, Indira’s maternal uncle was a naturalist, a botanist and her relationship with him was close.  This closeness added fuel to her affinity for the environment.
Shantiniketan: Indira’s education years also included a stint at Shantiniketan, where studying in the open gardens, under the sky, living with plants, trees, pet animals, birds and interacting with Gurudev, Rabindra Nath Tagore consolidated and deepened her affinity.  Climbing trees while getting away from people was her child hood play zone.  Shantiniketan brought her close to the Arts – music, literature, painting, sculpting, etc.
Entering politics was a natural transition for Indira Gandhi, and while she was at it, she ensured that policy and development go hand in hand with environment sustainability and nature conservation.  Project Tiger, her brain child, stemmed from her philosophy that saving tigers, is just not saving one animal species – it is saving the top of the food chain, saving the other animals, saving the water resources and ultimately saving the forests.  The roots for Project Tiger, which began in 1973, were sown in 1969, when she was presented with a report that only 1,400 tigers remained in India – a figure that was in thousands earlier.  This mission was so well received globally, that the World Bank sought to implement such across other countries.  This was followed by conservation missions for the lion, bird, crocodile, ghariyal – Sariska, Bharatpur, the Tal Chappar Black Buck sanctuary were all her endeavors.
In parallel, being a policy maker and development of the young country in her hands, she also saw to it that her love for the environment does not overpower her duties as the country’s leader.  The Mathura Refinery was one such example, says JR.  When building the wall around Bharatpur, she faced protests from the Maharaja of Bharatpur, which she overcame and while approving the Mathura Refinery project, she faced opposition from the environmentalist faction – giving an example of how a balanced policy maker works.  Indira, says JR, was one of the “Abhimanyu’s” of politics, pulled in, but unable to get out.
India has plenty of laws, rules and regulations – but it is important for them to be implemented in the correct manner.  The public needs to support the government and law makers in the implementation.  Take the example of Singapore – where the citizens support the government in environment conservation.  Discipline is needed and for discipline, strict rules need to be laid and implemented – Jairam Ramesh
The interview was followed by a Q&A session, where JR supported the Congress stance on the current governments initiatives.
Speaking on the current scenario in the country, JR said that most action plans being implemented today, had already been undertaken by the UPA government.  The Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan is nothing but the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan which Jairam Ramesh has initiated in his tenure in the Ministry.  He says that he had faced opposition from the very group of people who have now launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.
Taking a jibe at the massacre being created in the name of Cow slaughter, he reminisced that way back in 1966, a large group of Sadhus attacked the Parliament, which resulted in the police taking action and 7 persons being killed. The attack was to ask the government to take action against cow slaughter and close the butcher houses.  This resulted in a dilemma for the Indira government, which took a diplomatic step.  A committee was formed to understand and moderate the matter and come to a conclusion.  The committee consisted of members from varied backgrounds – Guru Golwalkar, head of RSS was made to head the committee.  Members included Ch. Charan Singh, and the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and also Shankaracharya of Puri.  Interestingly, the committe deliberated on the matter for 12 long years, and was finally dismantled by Morarji Desai, when they failed to present a consolidated report.  After 50 years, the government has again started harping on the same tune.
Further talking about the current emphasis on development being laid by the government, JR said that the BJP faction is more interested in a Congress Mukt Bharat rather than a Khule mein Shauch Mukt Bharat.  Focus on development is overshadowing the concerns for the environment.  Bullet trains, industries being given free land, industrial growth, stock market, highways, have become the core focus areas of the policy makers and environment conservation is hitherto ignored and has taken a back seat.
The session with Jairam Ramesh was attended by a closed group of 50 people, with the Cultural Rendezvous team consisting of Shubh Singhvi, Swati Agarwal, Mumal Bhandari, Ridhima Doshi, Shraddha Murdia and Kanika Agarwal coordinating the event and ensuring that the guests have a pleasant interactive session with Jairam Ramesh.
External pictures courtesy: Hindustan Times, Indian Express

Zoo to welcome jaguars, lions and kangaroos

| Oct 25, 2017, 05:47 IST
4 grey kangaroos, 2 jaguars, 3 Asiatic lions & 6 mouse deer to arrive at zoo4 grey kangaroos, 2 jaguars, 3 Asiatic lions & 6 mouse deer to arrive at zoo
KOLKATA: After a gap of two years, visitors to Alipore zoo will get a glimpse of kangaroos soon.

Four grey kangaroos, known to be the fastest kangaroo in the world, will arrive from Japan's Yokohama zoo in the early hours of Thursday .These animals are being gifted to the city zoo.

On Friday , a pair of jaguars, Asiatic lions and six mouse deer will also arrive from Hyderabad zoo. These animals are being brought under an exchange programme under which the Alipore zoo will have to part ways with two of its giraffes. The last jaguar had died in the city zoo four years ago.

The last kangaroo at the zoo, a red one, had died in October 2015. In 2011, Alipore zoo had procured four red kangaroos from the Czech Republic, all of which died by 2012. A female among them had given birth to a joey before her death, which died later in October 2015.
Member secretary of state zoo authority , V K Yadav , said that the grey kangaroos will reach the city airport around 12.30am on Thursday in a Thai Airways flight. " A day later on Friday , two jaguars, two Asiatic lions and six mouse deer will arrive from the Hyderabad zoo," Yadav added.

The red kangaroos had earlier died of myopathy -a disease of the muscles. Alipore zoo director AK Samanta said that these kangaroos are hardier than the previous ones. "Besides, the new enclosure developed for them is bigger compared to the previous one. We will keep them in quarantine for a month before putting them on public display ," he added. Visitors will also get to see jaguars in the zoo after a gap of four years. The last female jaguar had died in the Alipore zoo in 2013 after a prolonged illness.Samanta said they would be brought by road and will probably reach on Friday night.
I want to request our state govt. to renovate the Alipore Zoo with better facilities for animals.Ananya Chakraborty

After a long time, the zoo will also get a pair of pure Asiatic lions. The two lions in the zoo are aged and are not put on display any more. "Besides, they are hybrids of African and Asiatic lions. The last pure Asiatic lion in the zoo had died earlier this year," a source said.

Sources said the blood samples of the lions being brought from Hyderabad zoo were tested in the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology , a premier research organisation based in Hyderabad. Earlier, the lions were supposed to be brought from Gujarat's Junagarh zoo.

Lion preys on calf in middle of Junagadh city

| Oct 24, 2017, 04:00 IST | Oct 24, 2017, 04:00 IST
Only after passersby started shouting and honked horns of their vehicles did the big cat return to the forest on Monday morningOnly after passersby started shouting and honked horns of their vehicles did the big cat return to the forest on Monday morning
Junagadh: Commuters of Bhavnath road in Junagadh city were in for a surprise early morning on Monday as they witnessed an adult lion sitting on one side of the four-lane road eating a calf.

It was around 5.30am that people passing by Pajnaka Bridge noticed the lion sitting in the middle of the road eating his prey. Forest officials said that the lion might have come from the nearby forest area on the road and preyed upon the calf moving there.

For the next half-an-hour the lion sat on the road as bewildered commuters passing by in cars, autorickshaws and motorcycles stopped and clicked pictures and recorded videos.

"Eventually, as the crowd gathered at the spot and started shouting and honking horns from their vehicles, the big cat got disturbed and sauntered back into the forest by the same way that it had come," said a forester.
The area where the lion was sighted borders the Gir forest area. According to forest officials, lions are frequently sighted on the road near Bhavnath Road on the foothills of the Girnar mountain.

There are approximately 45 lions in the Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary, which spans over 17,827 hectare. Junagadh is located just 2km from the sanctuary's boundary.

In October last year, two adult lions, one male and a female, were found strolling in the Gandhigram area of Junagadh city early morning on a Saturday. They moved around the locality on the city's outskirts for over 20 minutes and then returned to the forest.

The October 2016 incident is the second one in that year when the wild cats crossed the forest border to enter the Junagadh Municipal Corporation (JMC) area. In July 2016, a pride of lions, including three adult females and half-a-dozen cubs, were seen jaywalking in Junagadh city early in the morning. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/lion-preys-on-calf-in-middle-of-junagadh-city/articleshow/61192669.cms

Chhatbir Zoo: When the lion chews on the litter

In the lion safari, there are currently three lionesses — Shilpa, Halley and Heer — and one lion, Yuvraj

Written by Saurabh Prashar | Chandigarh | Published:October 22, 2017 11:57 am
Chhatbir Zoo, Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Lion, litter, lion safari, chandigarh news, indian express, indian express news At the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park. Saurabh Prashar
LITTERING HAS become a concern at the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir Zoo. Despite sincere efforts and strict guidelines of the zoo authorities, people keep throwing waste material, including plastic bags and water bottles, on the zoo premises. Even the lion safari, spread across more than 2 km and a dedicated place for one Asiatic lion and three lionesses, is not spared.
One of the lionesses, Heer, who has been let loose in the open safari along with another lioness, Halley, and lion, Yuvraj, was spotted chewing a plastic bottle inside the safari on October 15. Senior zoo officials admit that littering of waste material is a problem in the zoo and people deliberately throw stuff like plastic bottles and bags to attract the attention of captive animals.
The lioness, which is in her sub-adulthood, was found roaming in the safari while the plastic bottle was stuck in her teeth. The zoo warden, Harpal Singh, said, “Indeed, it is harmful for any animal to chew plastic material, which is not their natural food. We have made so many efforts, including distributing envelopes to visitors for putting the waste material into. The use of polythene bags is prohibited in the zoo. We cannot stop people from taking plastic water bottles inside the zoo.”
In the lion safari, there are currently three lionesses — Shilpa, Halley and Heer — and one lion, Yuvraj. Currently, Shilpa is kept in an enclosure set up inside the safari, and two other lionesses roam free along with the only male in the safari.
According to the zoo schedule, the enclosures of animals, including the lion safari, are cleaned every Monday, when visitors are not allowed to visit the zoo.
A watchman appointed in the zoo for looking after the animals told Chandigarh Newsline, “Lion safari is not accessible to everyone. A visitor can enter the safari only in the safari bus. We appeal to visitors not to throw waste material in the safari. We catch more than two dozen people every day for littering on the zoo premises.
It can be a game for the visitors to attract the attention of animals by throwing waste material in their enclosures but this trend is a threat for animal.” A senior zoo official says waste material poses a serious threat to animals who prefer to eat everything out of curiosity.


Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani throws open Ambardi lion safari park

Rupani released three zoo-bred Asiatic lions in the safari park, located in Gir (East) forest division near Dhari in Amreli district.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot | Updated: October 18, 2017 12:04 pm
lion safari park at Ambardi gujarat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani , Ambardi reserved forest, Gujarat safari park, safari parks in Gujarat, Gujarat news, indian express news Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at Ambaradi lion safari park in Amreli on Tuesday. Five days after the Gujarat High Court cleared the decks for the lion safari park at Ambardi in Amreli district, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday formally threw open the park. Rupani released three zoo-bred Asiatic lions in the safari park, located in Gir (East) forest division near Dhari in Amreli district.
The park has been developed by carving out around 400 hectare or four square Km area out of Ambardi reserved forest. A wire fencing separates the park from the reserved forest located on the bank of river Shetrunji behind Khodiyar dam. Last week, the High Court dismissed a PIL filed by one Biren Pandya who claimed that Gujarat government did not have required permission from Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for opening the park. Pandya had claimed that the final clearance for the park was given by a technical committee of the CZA.
However, early in June this year, the CZA accorded final approval to the park. Disposing of the PIL, the High Court noted that the authorities had obtained relevant permission for the safari park. Rupani said that the opening of Ambardi safari park will decrease pressure on Gir National Park and Sanctuary at Sasan and Devaliya Safari park.
“The reduced tourist footfall at Sasan and Devaliya will augur well for their ecology without adversely impacting eco-tourism,” said Anirudhha Pratap Singh, chief conservator of forests of Junagadh wildlife circle. Gir forest and other protected areas spread over Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts in the Saurashtra region are the only natural habitat of Asiatic lions in the world. A 2015 census had estimated the population of Asiatic lion to 523.

Gir National Park reopens after 4-month-long monsoon break

ANI | @indiablooms | 17 Oct 2017
For Video;

Gir Sanctuary collects its highest ticket revenue ever

Updated: Oct 17, 2017, 09:52 IST


  • Chief conservator of forests AP Singh said 5.22 lakh tourists visited Gir in the last year.
  • This is the second highest number of tourists after 2015, when the number was 5.33 lakh.
    AHMEDABAD: From June 2016 to June 2017, the Gir forest clocked its highest ever revenue for a single year, collecting Rs 10.25 crore from 5.22 lakh tourists who visited the Gir sanctuary and the Devaliya interpretation zone.The rush continued and is evident this Diwali as well, with no online permits available for the vacation period till October 30. There are no online permit available on the weekends till January 14. Officials said that the tourist rush was increasing with every passing day. Chief conservator of forests A P Singh said 5.22 lakh tourists visited Gir in the last year. This is the second highest number of tourists after 2015, when the number was 5.33 lakh. "We are also expecting a huge rush during Diwali, as the park has just reopened after four months and it is the festival season."

    This is what happens when you have an able CM & PM like Modiji. Every avenue for earning revenue is maximized so that more and more people get jobs. India is lucky to have such a PM. By 2024 we w... Read More
    BindaasNeha Agarwal

The Gir region in Saurashtra, which is the last habitat of the endangered Asiatic lion, has seen a rise in tourist numbers ever since the state tourism department launched a campaign featuring Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan.

Sources in the department said that during the festive period, the number of permits has been increased from 90 to 150, but there is still a huge rush. The revenue thus collected is used for lion conservation. Officials expect the number of tourists to grow next year. The tourist season for Gir sanctuary is from October 15 to June 15. The park remains closed for the remainder of the year as the roads are not motorable.

Ambardi Safari Park to be opened for tourists today

| TNN | Oct 17, 2017, 05:28 IST
Ambardi Safari Park in Amreli
Ambardi Safari Park in Amreli
AHMEDABAD: The Ambardi interpretation zone, the second one in state, will finally be inaugurated on Tuesday. The new interpretation zone will draw tourists heading to Diu who want to catch a glimpse of the Asiatic lions.

This June, the union ministry of environment forest gave its final approval to the interpretation zone at Ambardi in Dhari taluka. The interpretation zone had hit a roadblock, after officials of the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) refused to give their final approval to the park due to inadequate fencing.

Last Wednesday, the interpretation zone had got the green signal from the Gujarat high court, which dismissed a PIL opposing the park's creation .

The interpretation zone will boost eco-tourism on the Ahmedabad-Bhavnagar-Amreli-Dhari-Una-Tulsishyam-Diu route. Officials said the state government had in 2005 decided to set up another lion interpretation zone at Ambardi, like the Devaliya Park in Junagadh, to ease the tourist pressure on Sasan and Devaliya. After getting in-principle approval from CZAI, the forest department was ready with the Ambardi Interpretation Zone in 2013, but the CZAI's objections halted further progress. A final inspection of the zone by CZAI officials revealed that the fencing was 12cm short of the approved 4.52-metre height and work on shifting lions to the zone was stalled.

Officials said that there would be two lionesses and a lion at Ambardi and tourists can view the lions in an forest department bus. The ticket cost will be Rs 150 per person on weekdays and Rs 190 on weekends.


London Zoo sends cheetahs, lemurs in return for Gir lions

| TNN | Updated: Oct 16, 2017, 07:34 IST
AHMEDABAD: This is possibly the most valuable barter any Gujarat zoo has pulled off so far. In 2016, an exclusive Gir Asiatic lion section was opened in the famed ZSL London Zoo and Gujarat sent a pair of Asiatic lions from Sakkarbaug Zoo. In return, ZSL has sent Gujarat a pair of cheetahs, two ring-tailed lemurs and two zebras.

Forest department officials of Junagadh wildlife division said this will be the first time Sakkarbaug Zoo will have zebras or ring-tailed lemurs. No zoos in the state have these animals. Officials said the animals will arrive later this month and will available for public viewing after 30 days of quarantine. Chief conservator of forests, A P Singh, said, "In December 2016 we had sent a pair of lions named, Amal and Toral, to ZSL. In exchange for the pair, Sakkarbaug Zoo will get these pairs of three different species."

GR permitting overnight stay inside Gir worries foresters

| tnn | Oct 12, 2017, 08:32 IST
GR permitting overnight stay inside Gir worries foresters
AHMEDABAD: A government resolution allowing pilgrims to stay overnight at the Kankai Mata temple inside the Gir Sanctuary is worrying forest officials and conservationists. The use of the word 'yatralu' in the GR has broadened the scope beyond members of the community, who have Kankai Mata as their family deity, and were the only persons who used to stay overnight at the temple, traditionally.

A worried forest department official said, "There are no special permits required to be obtained from the forest department to stay at night at the temple. A person entering the temple with a day permit can stay back with the same permit."

"Earlier, the permit holder visiting the temple had to return by 5pm," said the official.

Through a notification, the government had in the first week of September, allowed 50 devotees to stay overnight at the Kankai Mataji temple within the Gir Sanctuary - the last abode of the Asiatic lion.

Wildlife activists, including some members of the state board of wildlife are worried that conservation of lions may be affected by allowing pilgrims to stay overnight inside the sanctuary.

A senior officer from the forest department said, "After getting the notification, we found the word pilgrims. Initially, it was only for the community who have Kankai Mata as their family deity. But the final notification had the word 'yatralu' thus widening the scope for stay at night." 


Lawyer writes to CJ after preacher Morari Bapu’s pics with lion go viral

dna Correspondent | Updated: Oct 11, 2017, 07:40 AM IST, DNA
The tourism is prohibited for four months in the sanctuary as it is mating season for Asiatic lions

A lawyer from Porbandar district has written to the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court and the Vigilance Commission seeking action against forest officers for organising an ‘illegal lion show’ at Gir Sanctuary in Dungarpur area on Monday for religious preacher Morari Bapu and 20 others. Advocate Bhanubhai Odedara raised the issue on the basis of reports in local dailies and photos of Morari Bapu with lions going viral on social media. The letter states that tourism is prohibited for four months in the sanctuary as it is mating season for Asiatic lions, but Morari Bapu and company were allowed entry.
Though local reports said the preacher was as close as seven feet to a sleeping lion, there was no mention of a show being organised for him. The reports also stated that forest officers forced the lion to leave the spot.
Odedara has alleged in the letter that the visit was arranged by forest officers. He has claimed that forest officers had a role to play in making these pictures viral.
His letter demands strict action against the concerned forest officers, as they have “violated the Wildlife Protection Act”. Action should be taken against them so that no other officer indulges in such acts, the letter states.

Guj HC dismisses PIL challenging Ambardi lion safari proposal

October 11, 2017 | UPDATED 16:25 IST
Ahmedabad, Oct 11 (PTI) The Gujarat High Court today dismissed a PIL challenging the state governments Ambardi lion safari proposal for tourists in and around the 400 hectares of fenced area on the eastern side of the Gir National Park.
A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi dismissed the PIL filed by environmentalist Biren Pandya, saying that the state government has complied with all conditions and secured required permissions.
The court said the proposal for the safari was made in 2005, and in 2008, the central government had given recognition, or in-principle approval for the same. It said that even the physical infrastructure for the safari, like fencing, is in place.
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The PIL had sought the courts direction to the government to set aside the plan to convert the forest area into a lion safari, as it will damage the eco-sensitive zone.

Pandya had contended in the petition that the governments proposal had received nod only from the technical committee of the Central Zoo Authority, and this cannot be construed as a final nod as the committee is not empowered for the same.

During the course of hearing, the state government had submitted before the court that it had received the final permission to start the lion safari at Ambardi from the ministry concerned, and produced an official document regarding the same, dated June 19.

It had said that a newly-appointed technical committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) had given a go-ahead to the project and a final order regarding this was passed on June 19 this year by the ministry.

The park aims to take the tourist load off the existing Gir National Park. It will have three zoo-bred lions for public viewing in the forest environment.
The forest department has also received permission to house two lionesses and a lion in the park for public viewing.

As per the latest census carried out by the state forest department in 2015, Gujarat is home to 523 Asiatic lions in the Gir forest and other areas in Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts. PTI KA PD GK DV BAS

Autumn photos of these breathtaking places will make you plan travel instantly

Holidays are upon us and for many among us we are still thinking where to go? But do not worry. Take inspiration from these photos that will motivate your heart and mind to begin your journey where you can snap your autumn photos too. Travel to these parts is recommended at this time and you will find the locations at their picturesque best. Vacation spots you do not want to miss are here.
  1. Gujurat – A land of many wonders and steeped in culture and beauty, gujurat will give you all the vacation feels. Be it the white sands in the autumn of Rann of Kutch or majestic lions of the Gir Forest. Beach fun at Mandvi or historic discoveries at Lothal site of Harappan Civilization, there is much to do.
    white sands
    Lothal – The city of the dead
  2. Uttarakhand  – We beach folks could use a holiday up the hills and a breath of fresh mountain air. A few good places to click our autumn photos and what a vacation it would be. Adventure beckons you here to try the rapids at Rishikesh and the wild family of Jim Corbett National Park. Want sports? Go skiing at Auli and not to forget the breathtaking beauty of Nainital.
  3. Kerela – God’s own country shining in the season post monsoons, fresh and verdant. Think of the lazy backwaters and fresh sea food you could relish. Lets get packing already. Head to Alleypey for the house boats and the wild side of nature at Thekkady and Waynad. The shacks and more at Varkala Beach and an ayurvedic massage at Kovalam. The list is endless with fair time in Kochi too.
    varkala by tripoto
  4. Andamans – A seas shore far from ours, so different and so good. Andamans is untouched paradise and a current hot favourite of all beach buddies. You can have your fill of the sun, sand and the sea if your appetite is left after Vizag. Fmous of course is Havelock with it’s scuba diving and snorkeling fun. Have more fun at Neil Island with it’s water sports. Indulge in history at Kalapani Cellular Jail at Port Blair and East India base at Ross Island. Relax and unwind. Going to make this travel plan mine. Take your pick and get packing.
    scuba diving at Havelock island
    Ross island ruins

Main accused in 2007 lion poaching case held from UP

dna Correspondent | Updated: Oct 10, 2017, 06:45 AM IST, DNA

Lion Poaching

The wanted accused in the Asiatic Lion poaching case of 2007

In a major breakthrough, one of the wanted accused in the Asiatic Lion poaching case of 2007, Sarfaraz Qureshi, was arrested in Fatehpur, Allahabad of Uttar Pradesh by a Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) team on Sunday.
A total of 18 people have been arrested for poaching of eight Asiatic Lions at three different sites in and around the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in 2007. The carcasses of lions were found at different places, including Babariya Range in the Gir Sanctuary and Bhunduriya village of Bhavnagar district.
However, three main accused including Sarfaraz had been absconding for past 10 years. The other two are Shabir Qureshi and Mohammad Ayub Qureshi.
On Friday while investigating the case, Gujarat ATS officials got specific information that Sarfaraz was seen in Fatehpur of Allahabad area where he was staying in a rented house.
Acting on it, a team was immediately sent to the location and the accused nabbed on Sunday. During interrogation, he revealed that Shabir was his father and he died in 2012. ATS is on a lookout for the third absconding accused Mohammad Ayub Qureshi. Officials said Sarfaraz's interrogation will help them track him down. Further investigation regarding the case is on.


  • A total of 18 people have been arrested for poaching of eight Asiatic Lions at three different sites in and around the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in 2007.

Roar returns to Zululand as pride of lions is released

05 October 2017 - 14:17 By Tony Carnie
A lioness prepares to leave the boma
A lioness prepares to leave the boma
Image: Supplied
A pride of lions has been set free on a community-owned game reserve in northern Zululand‚ boosting its tourism potential and helping to ensure living space for a species that has disappeared from large parts of Africa in recent decades.
There are only about 2‚000 free-roaming adult wild lions left in South Africa‚ with just 32‚000 remaining in the whole of Africa following a dramatic 43% population decline over the last 22 years.
Earlier this year a small pride of three lions - one male and two females - arrived at their new home in the Somkhanda Community Game Reserve‚ south west of the Jozini/Pongolapoort Dam. They were put into a temporary holding boma after being relocated from the AndBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve‚ near Hluhluwe.
Now the lions have been released from the boma to roam freely in about 12‚000 hectares of the reserve‚ wildlife managers confirmed this week.
“Having lions reintroduced to Somkhanda Game Reserve is a huge achievement for the Gumbi community and the Emvokweni Community Trust‚ who are the owners and custodians of Somkhanda‚” said Dave Gilroy of the Wildlands Conservation Trust. “Somkhanda is now officially a Big Five reserve after methodically introducing endangered species to the reserve over the past 10 years.”
The new lions were doing well and had been seen hunting‚ feeding and mating.
The new king of Somkhanda crosses the boma line into his new territory.
The new king of Somkhanda crosses the boma line into his new territory.
Image: Supplied
The Gumbi community was evicted from their land in the late 1960s‚ but when their land claim succeeded just over a decade ago‚ they opted to preserve the natural landscape and establish a Big Five game reserve. They have gradually acquired the other four flagship species – elephant‚ rhino‚ buffalo and leopard – along with endangered African wild dogs and a much wider variety of more common game species ranging from giraffe to impala.
Nathi Gumbi‚ a member of the Gumbi community and Wildlands’ manager for community engagement in northern KZN said: “We are very happy about the lions coming to Somkhanda. The community feels privileged that the reserve is now a Big Five 5 reserve. Our dream is a reality. The Gumbi community are pioneers in their own right and this is evidence that community engagement can yield positive and inspiring results.”
Somkhanda is also one of the few community-owned game reserves protecting two critically-endangered species — black rhino and wild dogs.
Somkhanda rangers Sihle Nathi, Zamani Nkosi, Zama Ncube, Ntokozo Nxumalo and Moses Gumbi, who are helping to monitor the lions and other priority species.
Somkhanda rangers Sihle Nathi, Zamani Nkosi, Zama Ncube, Ntokozo Nxumalo and Moses Gumbi, who are helping to monitor the lions and other priority species.
Image: Kelvin Trautman
The Wildlands Trust‚ which has been closely involved in conservation work in the reserve for several years‚ says Somkhanda is one of the last big areas in KZN that can potentially create migratory corridors between neighbouring reserves for large mammals‚ such as critically endangered black rhino‚ as well as African wild dogs that range over large distances.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species‚ lions disappeared from most of Asia within the last 150 years (with a small population surviving in India’s Gir Forest) and became extinct in Europe about 2‚000 years ago.
More recently‚ lion populations in Africa have also plummeted and the species is now confined to about 17% of its former historic range on this continent.
In South Africa‚ it is estimated that there are about 1‚500 free-roaming mature lions in large conservation areas and about 500 more in smaller reserves. Lion breeders also keep about 6‚000 lions in captive breeding facilities‚ mostly for the hunting and lion bone industry.